This weekend we rented a car and headed two hours east to Cholula, Mexico. The photos, as I look at them now, turned out nicer than I was expecting. Saturday was somewhat overcast, obscuring views of the two massive volcanoes that overlook the little town (and neighboring large city Puebla).
Take a look:
The town has a clean, spacious zocalo brimming with activity. During the day, it’s pretty relaxed. At night, it’s taken over by couples dancing salsa style.
Cholula is a city of churches — there’s one on almost every block — but the preeminent church is Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. Why? It sits atop “the site of the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the “world’s largest monument” and the largest pyramid in the world. Because of the church, the pyramid has not been fully excavated.
But wow, what a view. To get a sense of how dramatic it is, you really need a helicopter to pair the image of the pyramid with the volcano in the back. You can see how this site would have been a deeply spiritual place; it’s fun to imagine it back in the day, when it looked more like this, and there would be incense floating around as people worshiped Quetzacoatl, the feathered serpent god.
In the photo above, you can see the pretty orange church in the background, and it looks like its sitting on a simple hill, not an ancient pyramid. But the ruins of the pyramid are partially excavated on the church’s south side:
You can tour the pyramids, but you won’t understand much if you don’t hire a local guide.
While interesting and worth a visit, the ruins are not as spectacular as others I have visited (and I love how picky I’m getting about my ancient Mexican ruins.)
A must on every Cholulan traveler’s visit: Walk up to the top.
As is common in Mexican Catholic churches, people have left behind adored items (from locks of hair to lollipops) in the sanctuary. Perhaps someone who knows can chime in here, but I’m not sure why this is done — either to pray for a miracle, or to give thanks?
Flower fields nearby:
And snow-capped Popocatepetl near dusk:
NOTE: More photos here.